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What could make a translator want to work indoors
Thread poster: Yolande Haneder
Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
German to French
+ ...
Mar 28, 2006

I may not have reached that stage but I start to get weary of seing giving jobs to freelancers like being a piece of lottery.

Not the education, not the price, not the experience or not even the fact that the translator did a satisfactory job in the past would be a garantee that the next time the translation would be OK next time.

I start to get weary of all promises I get and see there is nothing behind.

I sometimes miss the implication a translator could have in his job if he were working close to me (or I am still a dreamer - some say not even employees are caring for the company). I feel like that I may then see it if there would be something wrong, if he would be unwell, being able to react quicker instead of having to trust the proofer (which sometime is telling me everything is OK on a later bad translation). If there were a problem or something he did not understand, I would like the translator to come to me and not take the first word of the dictionnary, take it or leave it.

I am not close to be able to take a translator, I am quite a young agency and we started in building some kind of small office, which will cost us quite a lot in the next years.

Once I am finished with the building and assuming the income at that time and according to the last survey no translator would work indoors for no money in the world, what could be an intence for a quite experience translator working freelance to go to an agency (my aim is not to start with apprentices).

At least if I know yet I may take it into account in my plans - everything exept the location that I may not change.


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Trevor Butcher
Local time: 18:06
English
Who, What, Where, When? BANG! Mar 28, 2006

Yolande Haneder wrote:

Not the education, not the price, not the experience or not even the fact that the translator did a satisfactory job in the past would be a garantee that the next time the translation would be OK next time.


It sounds to me like that you need to spend some time analysing where the variability is coming from.

The variability may come from translators or proofreaders working in fields they are less or more familiar with, maybe your translators/proofreaders cannot handle medical sales even though they process medical certificates perfectly well, maybe you are not giving them enough time to complete the work to the required level, or maybe your team finds you less approachable than you believe.

There is also the possibility that when your customer reads the translated text, time has passed and the new text presents the content in a new light so that he/she is no longer satisfied with the text. Maybe instead of criticising the translation, the customer should review the original text once more?

I do not know what the answer is for you, but without doing some research and recording the possible variables to see if you can see a trend, then translator selection may always remain a lottery.

I hope that this helps a bit.


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I don't know Mar 28, 2006

I don't know at all where it comes from and I know it most of the time it had to do with this client.

I am quite strict by the choice of the translators but it always seem that there is something wrong. I never (except one occasion but I handled this matter and got stricter by the choice of the translators) have problems with other clients.

Somehow I feel relieved (and sorry) to have lost this client. Relieved because even in a text in my mother tongue, she attacked the text changed by some of her doctors where this person either didn't understand the source text or couldn't write in the target language and made a understandable mix of my nice translation.

Yeah, i feel relieved because my blood pressure was shooting up every time she wrote me, although I really did my best and do not understand what was wrong. The translators I have choose are really fine ones, natives with 10 years experience and she told me natives could not make sense of the text.

I feel sad for her because I did so much to please her to no avail.

Markus told me with time I will get a thick skin about such clients.

I am in doubt about translators, about clients. I think it is all in the process of running a business. There are however so many factors I can control by not having the translators here. I can't control if the translator actually did the translation himself, made it in between as a rush, had headache or anything else. If I want to success I have to get more control over things and to be able to afford myself this I will have to be successfull.
I try my best for my clients. I will take other translators next time.


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Imad Almaghary
Local time: 19:06
English to Arabic
+ ...
Take my advice or leave it Mar 28, 2006

Good morning

I have been working as a translator for more than ten years and as I do my work there are clients who are not satisfied with my work at all although they know nothing about languages and they say that there are lots of mistakes and on the contrary there are those who are ready to pay for me higher price just to do the work and they say that it is me the one who is behind their magic success just because I write and translate for them. What two opposing concepts. So, take no notice of those annoying clients and you made the right thing.

Imad


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 19:06
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
Two Points to keep in Mind: Mar 28, 2006

1. Your client
2. Your translator

As an agency, you need to know that you'll be dealing with all types of clients. No matter what your client says, he/she is always right. This is the basic rule you should follow when running a business. Never ignore your client's complaints or demands, and always be there with full patience to listen. This is the real magic you need to keep your clients and to promote yourself in the field.

Dealing with translators from all over the world isn't an easy thing to do. You need to be absolutely selective. Try to establish your own data-base of translators. Decide the language pairs and fields you'll start covering as a beginning, ask for translators to fill into specific applications in which you set fields for major information you need to know about. Send sample tests for those you approve their applications, consider a part of your budget for proofreaders, and submit the tests translated to more than one proofreader until you have a final decision regarding the translator. You'll be amazed how different the results my be, and how many proofreaders you'll have to consult.

And if you really wants it to work, then deal with your translators even better than you deal with your clients. It's about "the more you give them, the more they give you back". So is whole life, then why not business??

Just be patient, planned and organized, and all will go perfectly.

Good Luck


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translators - ideal and reality Mar 28, 2006

Believe me, I am quite selective on the translators, especially on the language I am often working on. If you could see my database, you would be amazed how many are not selected or not anymore because the 1st translation/trial translation was not correct.

In that case the translator who did the proofreading actually did the first translation for the same client and it was OK, now checking another translator (the proofreader of the 1st time was busy).

The more I give the translator the more they give me. I did believe it as I was translator. Now I see that it is not that easy. So many are trying to cheat on you without giving a second though to the client, just to their paycheck. It is like once they get a job, they already see the money in the bank. No commitment whatsoever.

I do try my best, I know I may not be fair to everybody and some translators do not understand. I am not a clairvoyant. I have to be careful or I will be out of business quicker as one can think. Even the translator who did the job claimed the best quality and was not cheap either. He will not know about it.

I will go on but I promised myself that either we managed to make it to an agency with indoor translators (and I am not against them listening to music or working from home if the kids are sick) or we will make a house out of the office and rent it or use it for pension. Now we started building, there is no turn back. i just hope I will be able to turn some of my pet translators when time come - unfortunately probably not because they are quite successful.

I don't see the future in working solely with freelancers. Freelancers are per name free and not bound to you whatsoever. You are prone to surprises whenever your pet translator is busy and the quicker the clients want the translation, the less choice you have.

I wish you luck too - you seem to be a nice translator.


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 19:06
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
That's what I'm talking about ... Mar 28, 2006

Yolande Haneder wrote:

Believe me, I am quite selective on the translators, especially on the language I am often working on. If you could see my database, you would be amazed how many are not selected or not anymore because the 1st translation/trial translation was not correct.



You can't wait until trying your translator on the first job. Just add none to your databe except for those who passes your translation tests after their output is checked. Save large number of contacts of them you can contact with absolute trust when a specific translator isn't available.

And thank you for the nice comment


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:06
Member (2004)
English to Polish
In-house translators will not help much... Mar 28, 2006

I do not think your problems will be solved by hiring in-house translators. As anyone who has worked at a managerial post will tell you, if you expect full commitment from your employee, then you might be quite disappointed... You seem to like to have everything under control, but with people it usually provides the opposite results - the more pressure you apply, the more resistance you receive.

Moreover, if you hire someone, it will not be that easy to let him or her go after the first failure. You will have to deal with them at least some more. With freelancers you just end the cooperation and that is it. Not to mention that you can choose only from people living in the same city, which might be quite limiting, especially if you plan to provide translations in several languages.

Selecting appropriate translators is not just a matter of browsing your database. In fact, translators are one of the two major assets a translation agency can have, next to clients. You cannot expect that finding them will be easy - it is a long and demanding process. That is what makes a successful translation agency.

All the best translators I know are freelancers and are likely to remain so. Most of them have their favorite agency clients, with long-last relationships. Which means it is possible, it just takes significant effort.

Finally, the client is always right, unless he is wrong. If the translators' work had been accepted by other clients (and proofreaders) and it is only one client who is not satisfied, maybe it would be more reasonable to keep the translators and say goodbye to that client, not the other way around.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 11:06
English to Russian
+ ...
How do you plan to afford in-house translators? Mar 29, 2006

To hire staff people you need to win a very stable project with a serious budget first, otherwise I don't see it feasible in any way to keep an in-house team even of 2-3 people - salary regardless of workload, insurance, social security payments, payroll taxes etc. Until you grow really, and I mean really big, it is simply impossible. BTW, stability and benefits are the advantages that in fact can attract some people, otherwise why would established free spirits sacrifice their freedom and drive to your office for the same money minus (or plus:-)) gas expenses, time in traffic and a boss hanging over their shoulder?

Even if you are talking about in-house contractors with flat hourly/daily rates, you'll have to pay them for 8 hours. Noone will come for actual hours. Say if you only loaded them for 3 hours billable to the client, the remaining 5 will still be your problem or you'll never build a permanent team.

For practical purposes, at a certain stage of growth it would be much wiser to have staff project managers and editors/proofreaders instead. And only when you are guaranteed that there is a daily workflow and continuous requirements for quick turnarounds for small jobs so that outsourcing and purchase order processing becomes a waste of time compared to just throwing it on the desk of a staff translator, the time will come for an in-house team. In all other cases such team is only gathered for a project at hand. IMHO.

Regards,
Irene


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you to all of you Mar 29, 2006

I think I will stop widening the language offer for quite a while and start to go deeper into the database.
Translators into the languages I can read are checked from the very beginning, it is not difficult and it solve many of the problems. The problems comes when you are checking into languages that you don't know, how to check the proofer. You have to go deeply in the CV, references and with some experience you start to be able to part things.

I have received 100's of CV per e-mail last year and I start to have a feeling (or i think so) about who actually had experience and is competent and who is claiming so.
Like I read once more in the last couple of days, the most ignorant person is the one who will be at the most sure of his competence. And there is some kind of string that I find in most mass mail applications that make me ignore them.

Having indoors is like a backbone, you have somebody you can at least expect to rely on if you are unlucky to fall on a bad translator. I hope the translators who are regularly working with me will still be enjoying it in the future. They are great and the more the clients are disappointed when I have to ask another one.

I don't know what went wrong but the accusations of the client are very strong. I will probably never know if it was the problem of the translator or hers. My other clients are working in much other fields of work so I am not working with the same translators in their case and they are more than happy. Seeing that after I wrote this I got contacts from 3 of my former clients asking for new quotes is very heart warming (i don't know if it is a coincidence or they are following proz too).
I feel much better now. I will try to have indoors because the clients seem to like (or would like to) be able to see and talk to who is working on their translations. I hope when the time come, I will get the help of my favorite translators to choose the best translator. I will pay the translator the flight and take them to me at the beginning if needed but I think with 3 translators schools in Austria and very much luck it may be possible to find somebody.


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How do I afford indoor? Mar 29, 2006

Like the way I will have to afford having a building:

I will have not to be paid for a while because I send my income to the translator.
Assuming the costs of the office I am building, I may manage it with renting some of the rooms and with my own income + as I read I will only do it when I will have saved one year salaries + other expenses (which means about € 50 000).

If you are a business and don't plan to expand you can give up now.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 11:06
English to Russian
+ ...
50 000 for 1-year salarieS + expenses Mar 29, 2006

+ unfinished building + "may manage"?

Yolande, when put this way those are... how can I put it mildly... very dangerous "business expansion" plans. Everything else aside, your major concern, quality, will never be achieved if you hire several people for 50 000 euros - this is barely enough to lure in 1 able body.

Sounds like you have a totally different and very substantial source of money and can play with it freely. Which is super, really, no kidding.

In any case, best of the luck,
Irene


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Last answer Mar 29, 2006

The project I intend are mine and up to now I didn't get any answer to my actual question.

The point is: I will surely not further discuss the possible ressources of the company in a public forum and you will understand why.

We calculated that we can do it. The building is partially standing so not much a problem to end it if we take time. € 50 000 is in our scope in a couple of years. Will do for the first employee and we take that he/she should also be polyvalent enough to earn us money.

My question was: what can make indoor job attractive to translators not liking indoors job.

Why I do it and how I do it is actually out of topic.


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Bentext  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Be realistic... Mar 29, 2006

What else could motivate a successful freelancer with a several year's experience to work inhouse than a reliable and attractive income? Are you looking for the "Don't care about the money" one world / one family guys? Don't know much about their translation skills. You should know that an established freelancer earns up to 5 times more than an inhouse translator...

How can you offer a competitive income when you spend the money for the office rent, SW licences, HW costs, your staff being on medical holiday and so on? Be realistic: You get what you pay for...

Some of the world's largest translation companies rely exclusively on freelancers and they are right : the inhouse concept has become obsolete due to the recent advances in communication technology. Maybe you'd better invest your ressources in optimizing your freelancer selection processes. IMHO.

Stéphane



[Edited at 2006-03-29 22:03]

[Edited at 2006-03-29 22:04]


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
OK forget it Mar 30, 2006

What the other companies are doing is none of my business.

There is more to business than actually translate a text and send it through the internet. There are many more things to do in the linguistic field, small things that you have to write, to edit day for day.

When some companies are calling and saying they are looking for an agency to contract for say 1 or 2 years (it already happened twice to me but I didn't want to take the risk because it was not exacly my own language pair), do you think you can rely your business on something extremly changing like the freelancer world? You can't even garantee that all the translation like for a company's internal paper (another example) would be all through the months translated with the same style, the one the reader is going to get used to. Once the freelancer or the proofer say you bye bye because he found someboby paying more and you have to keep your rates for 2 years, you have a problem.

I am a dreamer, so let me dream my dream. If I can't do it, I will close the office and work as a clerk.

So for now, If there is another one saying I can't do it and it is impossible, please LEAVE THIS THREAD ALONE. Others have managed it and I don't think I am an idiot or I can't calculate.

You don't know me. You don't know what I can plan. And having half or my family and environment working for banks, you can't say that I can't count money. As I said, I will do it and if I can't I will work as a clerk or an accountant. I have no credit and nothing to loose if it doesn't work.


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